8 Keys to a Strong Relationship
To this point in the chapter, we have focused upon the attraction that occurs between people who are initially getting to know one another. But the basic principles of social psychology can also be applied to help us understand relationships that last longer. When good friendships develop, when people get married and plan to spend the rest of their lives together, and when families grow closer over time, the relationships take on new dimensions and must be understood in somewhat different ways. Yet the principles of social psychology can still be applied to help us understand what makes these relationships last. The factors that keep people liking and loving each other in long-term relationships are at least in part the same as the factors that lead to initial attraction. For instance, regardless of how long they have been together, people remain interested in the physical attractiveness of their partners, although it is relatively less important than for initial encounters. And similarity remains essential.
Around might be love. There might be commitment. There might be a concrete friendship at its core. Worth it — but hard. Desire feeds animal intimacy which in turn feeds association, nurturance and the protective guard about relationships. Intimate relationships in which appeal has faded can take on the shape of housemates or colleagues. Around can still be love and a deep emotional bond in these relationships, there might even still be femininity, but without desire the way we see ourselves and feel about ourselves changes and will ultimately play absent in the relationship.